Thinking of Starting a Side-Hustle? Ask Yourself These Questions First
When workers want to boost their earnings, they often take on a side hustle. It’s estimated that 57 million people in the U.S. have a side business that they run in addition to their regular job. And 16 percent of side hustles offer services, which includes specialties like housekeeping, catering, and personal assistant services that many hospitality professionals are already skilled at.
If you’re thinking about turning your hospitality expertise into a side hustle, start planning by asking yourself these questions.
1. Can you fit a side hustle into your schedule?
Consider your schedule and whether you have enough time to build a business. If you have weekends off or regular days off during the week, you may be able to fill that time with your new venture. But if your schedule changes from week to week, it might be hard to keep set appointments with clients.
Keep in mind that some side hustles work best if you’re available to provide services at in-demand times. For example, many people need caterers Friday and Saturday evenings, so having those evenings off your regular job is a plus if you plan to prepare and serve food. On the other hand, if your side hustle is cleaning homes, clients might prefer that you work between 9 and 5 on weekdays when they’re out of the house.
2. Do you need to buy equipment or supplies?
Some side hustles don’t require any new equipment. For example, you can likely do data entry and manage a client’s calendar from your home computer or laptop. Others require significant investments. To start a catering business, you might need to buy a new freezer and some serving stations.
3. Will you hire other people?
Ask yourself whether your side hustle is something you can realistically accomplish on your own. This may depend on the scale of the projects you envision. You can probably redecorate a client’s apartment single-handedly, but you might need help refurbishing an entire inn.
4. Will you break even?
Write a sample budget for your side hustle, taking into account spending on supplies, payments for anyone you might hire to help you, and self-employment taxes. Compare expenses to the amount you expect to earn. Will there be some money left over for you? Think about how much time you’ll spend on the side hustle, and make sure you’re okay with your projected hourly rate.
5. Are you ready to take on diverse roles?
Small business owners typically wear several hats, even if they hire an assistant or two. You probably won’t be able to hire an accountant, a marketing director, a tax preparer, a manager, and a receptionist, at least not all at once. Thus, you’ll have to be ready to learn different aspects of the business and juggle diverse responsibilities.
6. Do you have a goal for your side hustle?
Ask yourself what you want to get out of the side hustle and how you plan to grow your business over the next year. Your goal might be to earn a certain dollar amount per month, or you might hope to gain experience from working with new clients. Remember that if your side hustle is very successful, it could become too big to manage on a part-time basis. Ask yourself if you’ll be happy with reining in growth or if you would want to make the jump to full-time entrepreneurship.
7. How will you market your business?
Think about how you’ll advertise your side hustle. Even if you hope to mostly rely on word of mouth marketing, you’ll likely want to get business cards and a website so potential clients can easily contact you.
8. Do you have your first clients lined up?
Start talking to people and see if there’s interest in the services you would provide. If anyone’s ever said, “I wish I could have you cater a dinner,” or, “You would be great at running a home bakery,” this is the time to reach out to them and let them know about your plans to build a business. If you can get a couple of clients confirmed before you make the leap toward self-employment, you’ll be motivated to get your business off the ground.